Film ID:
YFA 1947



Visitor Tabs


Made by Bradford University, this film is a record of the installation of Harold Wilson as the first Chancellor of the University.  A running commentary accompanies the film.

Title ¬– University of Bradford, Installation of the First Chancellor
A Yorkshire Film Company Production

The film begins showing the Charter signed by the Queen, making Bradford a University City.  A train arrives at Bradford Exchange Station.  The commentary says that it is November 4th, as Harold Wilson and his wife alight and are greeted by the Vice Chancellor, Dr Edwards, and Alderman Newby.  They walk through the crowded station, watched by photographers, and leave by car. Today he attends a civic reception at the City Hall where they are welcomed by the Mayor. The Wilsons sign the visitor’s book.  Dignitaries from local towns mingle in the Mayor’s parlour. They have a buffet in the Banqueting Hall, which, we are informed, was a location for the recent film ‘Life at the Top’.  Harold Wilson switches on the light that lights the tower.  At the dinner there is a speech by Alan Bullock.   There is a toast to the University of Bradford.  A new mace is presented on behalf of other Yorkshire universities by Sir Roger Stevens.  Dr Edwards gives a long speech on the purposes of learning, before Harold Wilson makes a shorter humorous speech.

Next day, November 5th, they attend a service of Thanksgiving at Bradford Cathedral.  A procession of guests leave after the service of dedication, led by Stanley Swift, with many in their regalia, chief among them being Harold Wilson, the new Chancellor.  Some others are named.  They walk to St. George’s Hall, past Forster Square, through the crowds.  The film shows many of those watching, some of Asian origin. Someone has an anti-Vietnam War placard. They file onto St. George’s Hall, with representatives of every university in Britain, to take their prescribed seats.

There is a small anti-war demonstration.  Inside the many representatives, including all the mayors from local towns and cities, and the honourary graduates, slowly take their places.  The President of the Student’s Union, Brain Atkinson, carries the mace.

The new chancellor is led in with a great fanfare, and awarded an honorary degree in technology.  There is another long speech by Dr Edwards, and then Wilson makes a declaration and gives a speech focusing on the importance of technology and the integration of the university with industry.  We hear some of the speech, while the narrator summarizes the rest.   Next the eight recipients of honorary degrees make their way up in turn, including Barbara Castle and Alan Bullock.  Proceedings are closed and people leave. There are then some more views of the outside of the University, followed by an informal lunch in the Great Hall. The film finishes with a close-up of the charter.